Comments Off on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Happy holidays, y’all. Boy do we have a special treat for you. This is the first-ever review done by Drive-in Dan and me, his loving wife, Mrs. Drive-in Dan. We are going to review for you what we consider to be the quintessential holiday film, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” If you have not seen this, y’all need to just go out and buy it, because it is a classic that will have you tangled up in the tinsel and rolling on the floor under the Christmas tree, you’ll be laughing so hard. Y’all wanna know just how much of a classic it is? Why Hallmark even has a “Christmas Vacation” tree ornament of Cousin Eddie’s RV, that speaks Eddie quotes. Y’all can bet on your last bottle of moonshine Dan and I have that sucker hangin’ on the tree.
Now, in terms of format, Dan and I are going to do this sort of like a script. Each of our names will be listed, with our thoughts and comments after. O.K., y’all ready now? Here we go.
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Our story begins with the Griswolds driving out into the countryside to select the all-important symbol of the holiday season…the Griswold Family Christmas Tree. Clark W/ Griswold, Jr. (Chevy Chase) leads his family in the singing of Christmas carols, while barely escaping the jaws of certain death when he moves the car under a big rig haulin’ logs. After a moment of being airborne over a snow bank (which resembles the airborne moment in the desert from the original “National Lampoon’s Vacation”), the family wagon lands at the tree lot, and the search for the tree begins. Unfortunately, it leads them out into the wilderness, and no one brought a saw, so they take the tree home—roots and all.
Drive-in Dan: Honey, you forgot to tell how they got under that big rig in the first place—by pissing-off those good ol’ boys in the pick-up truck. And how did they dig-up that big tree, anyway?
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Suspend your disbelief, honey. It’s a movie. They can do that kinda stuff in Hollywood. Anyhow, Clark wants to have a big, family Christmas at their house. The in-laws arrive, to several descending, ominous notes of a doorbell chime. The children are outsted from their rooms and beds; Ellen Griswold (Beverly D’Angelo) starts smoking; and everyone is in a general state of holiday miserableness. In a display of classic avoidance, Clark and Rusty head outside to string-up the lights on the house. Rusty gets the un-enviable task of untangling a knot in the string of lights that resembles the world’s largest ball of twine. Honey, do you remember when we went to go see that?
Drive-in Dan: Honey, can I get a word in here? You’re forgetting about the part where Clark comes out of the garage with the chainsaw and the Jason hockey mask on to cut the tree, and exchanges unfriendly comments with the yuppie neighbors, Todd and Margot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest). And then they get the tree in the living room, and when Clark cuts the rope to release the branches, 50 million things are knocked over and broken. It’s kind of like Rosie O’Donnell taking off her spandex and releasing everything. “Stand back! Contents under pressure!”
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Oh, honey, you’re right! Now, how could I forget that! Do you want to keep telling the story?
Drive-in Dan: No, I think you’re doing a fine job. I’m comfortable here on the couch.
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Alrighty, then! Anyway, so back to stringing the lights. Clark spends the whole day putting lights all over the house, risking life and limb as he has some mishaps with the ladder, and is hanging by the gutter at one point. The gutter starts to separate from the house, sending a huge piece of ice shooting through Todd and Margot’s window when they’re not home, and wreckin’ their expensive stereo (heh, heh). And when Clark brings the whole family out to see the fruits of his labors, the dang things won’t light! After much pain and agony on Clark’s part—and a few meltdowns—Ellen realizes the light switch in the garage needs to be flipped on for the outside lights to work. And, oh my Lord, let’s not even talk about the craziness of add-ons, extensions, and cords at that electrical outlet! That thing fully illustrates what my college friend used to say: It’s not a real Christmas unless it’s a fire hazard. But I digress… Anyhow, the lights come on, the nuclear power plant needs to flip on the auxiliary power, and the entire Griswold clan ooh’s and aah’s at the purr-ty lights…Although Art, Ellen’s Dad, notices that they aren’t twinkling. Big, freakin’ deal. Catherine and Cousin Eddie are impressed. They just pulled up in their RV, which is the biggest piece of crap you could ever lay eyes on. I am telling you, it is a sight to behold. Honey, do you want to jump in here?
I guess not. He’s tired from being up late watching “Black Christmas” online and Twittering, or tweeting, or chirping—or whatever the heck you call it. That’s fine. He can pipe-in at the end.
While Clark was fiddlin’ with the lights on the house, Todd and Margot were getting’ ready to, um, well, have “relations.” Y’all know what I’m talkin’ about? There was wine, and candlelight, and… You get the picture, don’t ya? So, all of a sudden, Clark’s Mom goes into the garage and flips the switch to get a cake out of the icebox in the garage. The Christmas lights come on, and Todd and Margot are blinded and just about kill themselves trying to move around their bedroom and down the stairs. The following morning, there’s chaos in the Griswold dining room during breakfast, with Eddie and Catherine’s rug-rats runnin’ around. Meanwhile Todd, who’s about to go out for a morning run, thinks otherwise when he comes out and is greeted by the sight of Eddie in a short bathrobe, emptying the RV’s chemical toilet into the storm sewer. Eddie holds up his beer can in greeting and delivers the best line in the whole movie, “Merry Christmas! Sh*tter was full!”
(Snort from Drive-in Dan as he wakes up)
Welcome back, sweetie pie.
Drive-in Dan: Woman, do you remember when we went to that baseball game, and you asked about the guy waaaay out in the field, and I told you he plays the position of right field?
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Yes…
Drive-in Dan: Well that’s where you are in this review. I need to reel you in. You skipped over the whole part about where Clark gets locked up in the attic when he goes up there to hide Ellen’s present, and the family leaves and goes to the mall. Clark is freezing his baguettes off in the attic, and dresses in drag in some old clothes from a trunk, and watches old home movies to pass the time. First, though, he goes ten rounds with the floorboards coming up and hitting him in the face.
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Well, darlin’, you were asleep, and so I was just keepin’ on here…
Drive-in Dan: Well I’m awake now to keep you on track.
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: Well aren’t we grumpy? I think you need another nap.
Drive-in Dan: I’m fine. Just wrap this up. You’re going on forever here. It’s a movie review, not a reading of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue. Jeez, couldn’t someone please go rogue on her?
Mrs. Drive-in Dan: You are on thin ice, mister. Fine. Anyhow, the rest of the movie involves a lingerie sales girl taking off her bathing suit; Aunt Bethany reciting the Pledge of Allegiance over dry turkey and cat food Jell-O; an electrocuted cat; Uncle Lewis igniting the Christmas tree and himself; Eddie’s dog, Snots, chasing a squirrel from the new Christmas tree through the house and out the door, tackling Margot, who then slugs Todd; Clark getting an unpleasant Christmas bonus from his employer and having a meltdown with a very impressive and agitated monologue; Eddie kidnapping Clark’s boss; and the police crashing into the Griswold home. The plastic Santa and reindeer are sent spiraling across the moon, propelled by Uncle Lewis dropping a match by the storm sewer, igniting the fumes from Eddie’s emptying of the chemical toilet. As Aunt Bethany sings the National Anthem, all join in, and then head back inside. The end. Does that wrap it up enough for you, dear?
Drive-in Dan: Yup. That about covers it. That’s all I’m gonna say, before I end-up sleeping on the couch. But we need to do the Roadside Attractions…
– Jason Voorhees trimming a tree
– 2500 non-twinkling Christmas lights
– Christmas décor smackdown
– 1 flying Popsicle
– 1 rust-bucket RV
– 1 choking-hazard dry turkey
– 1 pissed-off squirrel
– 1 Tylenol plug
– Flaming Santa and Reindeer
Rated 10 out of 10
Check out the trailer for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation